Members' Section (Login required)

Congratulations! Westlake Garden Club Turns 50, and is Still Blooming

With 171 in attendance, the Westlake Garden Club celebrated 50 years in style at the Westwood Country Club on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. Tables were adorned with one large, white Hydrangea in a square vase, sitting on a gold charger, and the room glowed with other gold accents. Guests enjoyed a palate pleasing lunch consisting of tomato bisque, a salad of grilled vegetables and rotisserie chicken, rolls, and the anniversary cake for dessert. While the soup was being served, past presidents were honored and each was presented with a rose in a vase. Four members who have been with the club for over 40 years were introduced, and the only charter member, Lillian Bialosky, who joined in 1963, talked about the beginning of the club. Jackie Crosier, who joined in 1967, also gave some insight to the club's history. Regina McCarthy, club President, introduced Westlake Councilman, Ken Brady, who presented the club with a proclamation signed by the Mayor designating September 18, 2013 as Westlake Garden Club Day. The keynote speaker was Julie E. Washington, Home Editor of the Plain Dealer. Julie talked about recent changes at the Plain Dealer, then talked informally about her childhood and her mother, whose love of gardening has influenced her in adulthood. Julie is very warm and personable and everyone seemed to enjoy meeting and getting to know her. There were many beautiful raffle baskets and door prizes, and even a bake shoppe where guests could purchase home-baked goods to take home. A lovely setting, a delicious lunch, and great fun and camaraderie - what a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion like a 50th Anniversary. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped make our celebraton special.  We look forward to our next 50 years!  Here is link to all photos of the luncheon.


Gardenview - A Lifetime Labor of Love

A visit to Gardenview Horticultural Park in Strongsville is an experience of seeing the fruition of a life's work by Henry A. Ross, who is the Founder and Director of the Park.  


Mr. Ross had a vision as a young man to create an "oasis of beauty".  In 1949, when Mr. Ross was in his early 20's he purchased the 16 acre parcel of land which he figured was always going to be in the country, but which today, to his disappointment,  is in the middle of thriving and growing Strongsville.   Since he purchased the land in the winter when it was covered with snow he did not realize until spring came that what he actually purchased was acres of swampy blue and yellow clay, overgrown with blackberry brambles and weeds.  The transformation of the land from then till now has taken a lifetime of hard work, dedication and determination to fulfill the dream of providing enjoyment to visitors, to demonstrate the art of English Cottage Gardening, of traditional perennial borders, and to give an opportunity to those wishing to do so, to adapt these ideas and planting combinations to their own gardens.


Mr. Ross developed and maintained the gardens by himself from the beginning to 1994.  He brought in hundreds and hundreds of truckloads of soil to cover the grounds with a four feet deep level of good dirt to create the base in which to grow the plants.  Now, at 86 years old, he still works the gardens everyday with the assistance of his only helper, Mark, a volunteer.  Gardenview is the only facility of its kind in this country.


Gardenview has all kinds of extremely choice, rare and uncommon plants from all over the world that Mr. Ross has obtained throughout the years.  There are various gardens of different shapes and sizes fitting together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into one large picture 6 acres in size.  There are many unusual trees including hundreds of varieties of flowering crab-apples. The water lilies were in full bloom in magnificent colors, with a few yellow ones popping their heads.  


Gardenview is not tax supported in any way so any donations that are made are used for the ongoing maintenance of the gardens of which much is needed.  These gardens have truly been a labor of love, the commitment of one man who has spent his lifetime to fulfill his dream of creating a place of beauty and enjoyment for others.


Cultural Gardens are Rare Treasure

On May 7, the Westlake Garden Club sponsored a bus tour of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.  Forty-five attendees enjoyed a wonderfully planned day and Mother Nature contributed sunshine and warm weather.  Below is an excerpt from an article that Regina McCarthy wrote for the Westlake Bay Village Observer. 


Located in Rockefeller Park, a 254-acre expanse of land John D. Rockefeller donated to the city in 1896, the first garden was created in 1916 as a tribute to William Shakespeare.  Ten years later, the Hebrew Garden became the first “culture” garden and the Shakespeare Garden was renamed the British Garden.  Following the Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided funding for 13 new gardens.

Currently there are 29 established gardens, with more in the planning stages.  Each garden displays its ethnic culture in its own way.  Some use interpretations of architecture and garden design principles from that country, while others contain statues, busts and plaques honoring that country’s poets, composers, philosophers, writers and artists.

Of particular interest was what appeared to be a relatively unremarkable slope of grass and trees; but we learned the soil underneath was brought to Cleveland from 40 separate countries and mixed together to symbolize a mutual understanding across cultures.  Another was column shaft from the Roman Forum topped with a bust of the poet Virgil in the Italian Garden.

Following lunch in Little Italy, we visited the historic Rockefeller Greenhouse, established in 1905, situated on four acres of land at the park’s northeast corner.  Tulips and irises were blooming outside, with ferns and exotic plants inside.  Rockefeller Park includes two separate entries on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: one for its architecturally historic bridges, and one for its Cultural Gardens.  I recommend taking the time to visit the only gardens of its kind in the world.


Subscribe to Westlake Garden Club RSS